By Vice-chairman Choe Nam-suk of The Korea Post media
“Ethiopia is on the fast economic track and it has adopted the Korean model of economic development to its development strategy,” disclosed Ambassador Shiferaw Jarso of Ethiopia in Seoul at a luncheon reception he and Mrs. Jarso hosted at their residence in Seoul on Dec. 24, 2016 on the occasion of the 11th ‘Nations, Nationalities and People's Day of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.’ Then he added, “There are frequent exchange of visits between the two countries at a high level of government officials and business communities, especially from the Ethiopian side so as to benefit from the best experience of Korea’s development model.”
Many Korean government and civic figures attended the luncheon with the attendance of many Korean, Ethiopian and other international guests.
Among the Korean guests were President Hee-Beom Lee of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee; Vice Chairman Young-Hoi Lee of Youngone Corporation; Vice-President Mooha Lee of KAST; Chairman Im Byoung Min of Agerigna; Professors Jin-Sung Kim of Korea University and Seung S. Lee of KAIST; and Vice President Lee Young Nam of Myrrhzone Molyac Institute Co., Ltd. From the media came some seasoned journalists. From The Korea Post media, Vice Chairman Choi Nam-suk attended it on behalf of the publisher-chairman together with Korean-language Editor Ms. Linda Youn who boasts ‘five-time larger audience’ of her Korean-language Internet daily (www.koreapost.co.kr).
There also were a number of senior diplomats in Seoul attending the meeting. They included Ambassadors Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire and Mohamed Abdelaal of Sudan.
Perhaps, one of the high lights of the event that day was presentation of citations to a number of meritorious contributors to the promotion of bilateral relations. The honored ones included the management of the Youngone Corporation who invested US$100 million last May in creating an exclusive production zone of Korean textile industrial zone. Citations also went to the representatives of the Hansung Scholarship Foundation, Professor Kim Jin-sung of Korea University.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Jarso of Ethiopia:
A very good afternoon to all of you. Let me first start my speech by expressing my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you who attended today to honor us on this Ethiopia Day, the Taste of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Nation, Nationality & Peoples Day.
On behalf of the Ethiopian Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and myself, I welcome guests and fellow Ethiopians on this auspicious day.
Ethiopian people had celebrated on December 8, 2016 for 11th time the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day which is the foundation of equality of all nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia in the city of Harar, the city of love, peace and tolerance or as some may call the living museum. Leaders of foreign countries had attended the celebration in Ethiopia including President Omar al-Bashir of the republic of the Sudan. I will take this opportunity to thank the Sudanese Ambassador to Korea to honor us here today. Let me also thank all esteemed Ambassadors and members of diplomatic corps for honoring us by being here today.
The yearly carnival was accompanied by symposiums, exhibitions, panel discussions, and stage display of different cultural demonstrations of each nation, nationalities and peoples. Here in Seoul we decided to celebrate it as Ethiopia Day and the Taste of Ethiopia. Today’s event has three purposes.
No. 1 is to discuss on how to strengthen and overhaul the Ethio-Korea Friendship Association (EKFA), Ethio-Korea Business Council, Koreans who served in Ethiopia and the Ethio-Korea technology transfer subcommittee. No. 2 is to showcase the rich heritage, culture and foods of Ethiopia. Ethiopian food such as Tibs (sauteed meat and vegetables) Injera, Kitfo.. will be exhibited. No. 3: is to celebrate Ethiopian
Nations and Nationalities and Peoples day. Ethiopian Nations and Nationalities and Peoples fashion show will be displayed. Ethiopian Nations and Nationalities and Peoples song will also be played.
I welcome everybody to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Ethiopia along with the famous Ethiopian coffee ceremony at this year's celebration of Ethiopia Day and Taste of Ethiopia and Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day.
Ethiopians have had a proud record of managing to successfully defend their sovereignty and their country against foreign aggression. Equally, there have been times of misrule in which some of the nations, nationalities and peoples have been treated as second class citizens and deprived of equal opportunities in their own country. This has meant, they have had to wage an arduous struggle against their rulers to create a political system under which their long suppressed rights can be ensured, and their languages, cultures and history freely exercised and developed and the right to self-determination realized.
The oppression and suppression that were imposed for much of the last century were finally done away with once and for all, on May 8, 1991 when the military dictatorship of the Derg regime was toppled by the joint struggle of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. This victory was reinforced and firmly defined on December 8, 1995 with the ratification of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, which formally guaranteed the rights and equality of the Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples.
Later on The House of Federation decided to first celebrate this day in 1999 EC on the eve of the Ethiopian Millennium in 1999 E.C. and in the capital Addis Ababa. The House of Federation then decided to celebrate the occasion yearly each December 8 in order to provide a platform for the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia to promote their cultures, histories, lifestyles and other values, creating a common political and economic community and strengthening their brotherhood under the national spirit of the motherland. Ethiopia.
After the official day was endorsed, nations, nationalities and peoples bond and affiliation has become even stronger. It is like when you have the synergy together on all aspects but still you keep your own identity and culture independently. After all the Constitution preaches unity in diversity.
The day ensures constitutional rights of equality that all people are entitled to keep and promote and practice their language, culture as well other endeavors of as norms and values.
What makes a country really a country is an existence of a strong bondage of its people and the generosity and devotion they have for each other as well as their unity for the development and prosperity of their country.
Inherent in every Ethiopian there is Ethiopianism. The Ethiopian peoples are accustomed to acting together on the high and low situation of their country's developmental, economic and political endeavors. That is why they demonstrate their unity and show alliance with the government for a better future. For instance, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a big symbol and indication of passionate visionary Ethiopians. When the initiation of GERD was made official they vowed their unstinting contribution until its completion. True to their words, they are still handing out their offering in all ways they can. Some Korean friends are supporting this cause. We will honor them here today to inspire them to do more and to inspire other Ethiopian friends to donate to the dam.
When it comes to fighting conspiracy against Ethiopia, Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia showed their togetherness in exposing and foiling the heinous motives of anti-Ethiopians outside the country. They made it clear that when it comes to their country's peace and anything that tends to stop its developmental journey they wouldn't anticipate or sit idle with folded hands until it happens.
Really finding the root cause of and trying to address ones problem is half way to a solution. Well, Ethiopia is half way to overcome all of her challenges thanks to her united but diversified people. The Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Day was a milestone moment marking a vow to establish a system of constitutional government that had managed to attain sustained development. The country had made great leap forward since the enactment of the Constitution in terms of social, economic and political development, forming a government in which unity in diversity was reflected.
The adoption of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia had laid the foundation for Ethiopians to exercise their rights as well as allow them to benefit from the gains of development. The economic growth registered over the past decade was the result of the joint efforts and collaboration of all the nations, nationalities and peoples of the country.
The constitutional system had resulted in flourishing democratic nationalism and had strengthened the fight against poverty which had already managed to free millions of people from poverty.
The people of Ethiopia need to preserve these diversities. This is why we are gathered here to cherish and commemorate this historical day.
The other reason which gathered us today is what is called “Korean Miracle.” My country still seeks to draw lesson from Korea’s best experience. Korea Institute of Science & Technology (KIST), the first multi-disciplinary research institute founded in 1966, has contributed a lot to the modernization of industry and helped to push ahead for the rapid and remarkable economic growth of the Republic of Korea.
The Republic of Korea which has only a GDP per capita income of $73 in the 1950s enabled to reach a remarkable level of $36,700 in 2015. It ranked number one among 167 countries on the ICT Development Index in 2015.
Ethiopia’s diplomatic relations with South Korea dates back to the 1950s during which a number of Ethiopians sacrificed their lives in the Korean War (1950-53). During the Korean War led by the US under the auspice of the UNSC, Ethiopia has sent 6037 troops (the Kagnew Battalion) fought alongside the Republic of Korea.
As a result, the Republic of Korea has maintained special friendship with Ethiopia and bilateral cooperation has been further strengthened since after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1963.
Ethiopia is on the fast economic track and it has adopted the Korean model of economic development to its development strategy. Recently, there are frequent exchange of visits between the two countries at a high level government officials and business communities’, especially from the Ethiopian side, so as to benefit from the best experience of Korea’s development model.
Taking this historic & contemporary relationship in to account, the economic cooperation, i.e. finance & technical cooperation, trade, investment and tourism they have between the two countries is less than expectation.
For example, the volume of trade between the two countries and Korea’s FDI to Ethiopia is very low. The total trade volume between the two countries is 204 million USD in 2015.
Ethiopia’s investment potential to Korean investors remains untapped especially in the areas of manufacturing namely textile, leather and leather products, agro-processing and the like.
Korea has been shifting its focus to Africa to meet its increasing demands for energy and market for its products. Ethiopia therefore should create a good investment environment and promote its investment opportunities for Korean investors to take this advantage and attract FDI from the Republic of Korea.
But as to how, we seek humbly for the guidance, advise and deliverance of the esteemed members of Associations of Ethio Korea Friendship, the Ethio-Korea Business Council, members of Koreans who served in Ethiopia, distinguished Journalists, Business personalities, Professors, Researchers gathered here today and in our future interactions.