Car Free Day

Following Rwanda’s example, Ethiopia implemented a monthly car free day to be held on the last or first Sunday of every month. Rwanda first implemented a Car Free Day for their capitol Kigali in 2016 and it quickly gained popularity among residents and people abroad. Following their example, Ethiopia held their first Car Free Day on December 9th 2018 (BBC). Main roads are closed temporarily on this day and participants are encouraged to walk, jog, cycle and play games such as football.

The goal of Car Free Day is to adopt a greener approach of living and to promote exercise. Dr. Amir Awan, Ethiopia’s current health minister also shared in a tweet some additional activities that are part of Care Free Day such as free medical screening and a talent show in the cities that partake. Car Free Day started with the capital city of Addis Ababa and several other key cities but is expanding to include more cities.

February was only the third month of this initiative but judging from the positive news coverage of the events, Car Free Day has gained some success in terms of new participants and popularity abroad. In January 2019, The Ministry of Health in Ethiopia lended 12,231 bicycles to citizens in cities that partook in Car Free Day signaling the day’s popularity. WHO Ethiopia, FIFA and BBC all tweeted in support of the movement and Kenya is now trying to implement its own Car Free Day after witnessing Rwanda and Ethiopia’s successful Car Free Days.

This is a great initiative by the Ethiopian government as it reminds citizens to not be so dependent on vehicles and also encourages a healthier lifestyle.

Sources:

https://twitter.com/amirabiy?lang=en&lang=en

No traffic in Addis Ababa as Ethiopia marks Car Free Day. (2019, February 03). Retrieved February 6, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47107327?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cwlw3xz047jt/ethiopia&link_location=live-reporting-story

Thousands walk on Ethiopia Car Free Day. (2018, December 09). Retrieved February 6, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46499036

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World’s Gateway to Africa

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has proven its commitment to becoming a leading airport in Africa and Ethiopian Airlines is helping to realize this dream. The airport, located in the capital of Ethiopia serves as the main hub of Ethiopian airlines. Last year (November 2018), Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa making it the new gateway to Africa.

On Sunday January 27th, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated the newly expanded state-of the-art airport terminal in Bole International airport. He was joined by Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The new terminal, which was funded and built by China, added an impressive 74,000 square meters of land effectively tripling the size of the airport (Akwei) making it Africa’s biggest airport (succeeding South Africa’s O.R. Tambo International Airport). Bole International can now accommodate up to 22 million passengers annually, which is a huge leap from its current 7 million passenger capacity (Dahir). The new terminal boasts automated bag drop solutions, e-gates, self-check in kiosks, latest technology security machines among more.

In addition to the new terminal, Ethiopian Airlines also celebrated a new luxury 5-star hotel, which is located at a 5-minute distance from the airport. The Skylight Hotel boasts 373 rooms and offers ample amenities such as restaurants of Ethiopian, Chinese and European cuisines, a health center providing spa, massage and gym services, a grand ballroom, meeting rooms and outdoor facilities (Tubei). The airline carrier also plans to build a second 5-star hotel by 2021 offering 637 rooms. Ethiopian airlines is presently in the midst of a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 with the goal of being the leading aviation group in Africa. Ethiopian airlines is currently Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit but its aim now is to be the best and to have Bole International featured among Africa’s top airports.

Sources:

Akwei, I. (2019, January 29). Ethiopia is indeed Africa’s pride as it opens the biggest airport and new luxury hotel. Retrieved January 30, 2019, from https://face2faceafrica.com/article/ethiopia-is-indeed-africas-pride-as-it-opens-the-biggest-airport-and-new-luxury-hotel

Dahir, A. L. (2019, January 28). Ethiopia has tripled the size of its main airport as it gets set to be Africa’s gateway hub. Retrieved January 29, 2019, from https://qz.com/africa/1535255/ethiopias-addis-ababa-bole-expanded-airport-triples-size/

Tubei, G. (2019, January 18). Africa’s most profitable airline is planning to open a $65 million Skylight Five Hotel set to forever change Ethiopia’s skyline. Retrieved January 28, 2019, from https://www.pulse.com.gh/bi/lifestyle/ethiopian-airline-is-opening-a-dollar65-million-skylight-five-hotel/yy5q2qn

Ethiopia’s Economic Growth Spurt

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Ethiopia is set on soon becoming Africa’s fastest growing economy and its success can be credited to the government’s investments in irrigation. Averaging a 10% economic growth every year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia has big plans for the future. Its government aims to achieve middle-income status (gross-national income of at least US$1006 per capita) by 2025. According to the World Bank, the current per capita income in Ethiopia is US$783 (Forbes Africa).

Forbes Africa lists 2 key factors that spurted Ethiopia’s growth spurt:

  1. The prioritization of agriculture as a key contributor to development
  2. The fast-paced adoption of new technologies to boost the sector.

A third of Ethiopia’s GDP is generated through agriculture, and more than 12 million households rely on small-scale farming for their livelihoods (Forbes Africa).

Ethiopia’s investment in irrigation has been central to its growth in agriculture and hence the economy. According to Forbes, irrigated area in the country increased by nearly 52% between 2002 and 2014, making it the fastest growth in irrigation in any African country (Forbes Africa).

Farmers who traditionally relied on rainfall dreaded dry-season until the government’s investments in irrigation brought them improved soil fertility. Habebo Elermo, a farmer in Ziway, Ethiopia remembers how he and the other farmers in his area would travel 180km to get cereals to feed their families in the dry-season. Small-scale irrigation has not only made him more productive, it has also brought more wealth to his family as he can count on irrigation to water his crops when rain is absent (Dry-season irrigation in Ethiopia: Changing lives in every way)

Only 6% of cultivable land is irrigated in Africa. Ethiopia is currently one of the few countries (among Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa) to focus on irrigation and benefit economically from it (Forbes Africa). It serves as a role model to other African countries looking to expand their agricultural sector and increase their GDP.

Sources:

African Women Plucking Tea Leaves On Plantation East Africa Photography. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/ethiopian-farming?mediatype=photography&phrase=ethiopian farming&sort=mostpopular

How Investment in Irrigation Is Paying Off for Ethiopia’s Economy. (2019, January 21). Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.forbesafrica.com/agriculture/2019/01/21/how-investment-in-irrigation-is-paying-off-for-ethiopias-economy/

Iwmimedia. (2017, May 29). Dry-season irrigation in Ethiopia: Changing lives in every way. Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwisrdlGivA

The Journey Begins

Hi there! My name is Alina and I will be bringing you current news from one of the countries located in Africa’s Horn: Ethiopia. I am excited to learn more about this beautiful country and to help you get acquainted, I am listing some facts about Ethiopia below:

  • Founded in 980BC, Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country.
  • Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that was never formally colonized. It had to fight off the Italians twice to earn this title.
  • Ethiopia is the only country in the world to use a 12-hour clock system. Midday (12:00PM, Noon) is 6:00 in local time. Similarly, 7:00AM is 1:00.
  • The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months. This puts it 7-8 years behind the Western calendar.
  • Coffee was first discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder in the Kaffa region when he noticed his goats dancing after eating leaves off a coffee plant.
  • The oldest human remains were found in Ethiopia. More than 50 million years old, they are believed to be the earliest ancestors of humans.
  • More than 70% of Africa’s mountains are found in Ethiopia. It is sometimes referred to as “the Roof of Africa”.
ethiopian-coffee-growers
Coffee farmers in Ethiopia
ethiopia map
Flag and map of Ethiopia

Sources:

Finn, S. (n.d.). Ethiopia Map Flag Rotating On Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free) 2755037. Retrieved January 21, 2019, from https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-2755037-ethiopia-map-flag-rotating-on-black-animation

Kuligowski, T. (2016, October 12). 67 Random Facts about Ethiopia. Retrieved January 21, 2019, from https://www.factretriever.com/ethiopia-facts

New Guide to Coffee Production in Ethiopia presented in Addis Ababa. (2017, September 06). Retrieved January 21, 2019, from https://www.comunicaffe.com/new-guide-to-coffee-production-in-ethiopia-presented-in-addis-ababa/