Hailemariam meets the Ethiopian Community in New York
H.E. Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia met with members of the Ethiopian community in New York on September 26, 2011.
The Deputy Prime Minister, in his brief opening remarks, outlined the major economic and social activities undertaken by the Government and results achieved so far to improve the lives of Ethiopian people. He pointed out that the implementation of the Five-Year Growth and Transformation Plan is kicked off with a promising start to bring about structural transformation to address the fundamental development challenges of the country which will require the industrial sector take the lead in the economy.
Speaking on the ongoing development activities, he described the Government’s efforts in expanding infrastructure throughout the Country including the plan to reach the 10 thousand megawatt target of generating electricity in the next five years. In achieving this objective, the Deputy Prime Minister said the Government is working with resolve to ensure the construction of dams, including the Renaissance Dam. Seven billion Birr worth of bond has already been sold for the construction of the Dam, said the Minister, and urged the community members to do their part and contribute to the construction of the project whose earth work is being completed.
Ato Hailemariam also pointed out of the effects of the current global developments, particularly the sudden change of events in the Middle East which led to soaring of commodity prices and imported inflation. He said the Government is now taking measures to put the inflationary pressure under control.
The Deputy Prime Minister emphasized the importance of human resource development and technology transfer to growth and development of the country, and said that the number of universities in Ethiopia has grown to 31 with intake capacity having increased many fold. In addition to improving both the quantity and quality of education in higher educational institutions, Ato Hailemariam said that efforts are underway to create job opportunities, especially through encouraging graduates to engage in small and medium-scale entrepreneurship.
With regard to health, in his discussion with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the margin of the 66th Session of the General Assembly, the Minister said he was told about the UN’s effort to promote Ethiopia’s health extension programme as best model for other developing countries.
In the Q&A session, community members had the opportunity to reflect their views on the number of issues. Many have commended the efforts that the Government of Ethiopia is taking to promote sustainable growth and development in the country and expressed their commitment to continue to play a key role in contributing to the ongoing transformation in Ethiopia. Other issues ranging from government’s efforts to engage the diasporas in the country’s development activities, to the provision of access to information technology, to women’s rights and to issues relating to good governance were raised during the interaction session.
Ato Hailemariam thanked members of the Ethiopian diaspora for their commitment and said that the Diaspora Policy is now being finalized with the draft soon to be presented to the Cabinet for adoption. Speaking on political space in Ethiopia, the Minister indicated that though the Government has gone a great distance to accommodate the needs of opposition political parties by taking different measures, they themselves have yet much to do first and foremost in connection with respecting the constitutional order and the rule of law. The terrorist plot by the government of Eritrea last January in which some within the opposition took part as instruments for carrying out the plot is something which should be condemned by all, the Minister said.
Speaking on the expansion of ICT in Ethiopia, Ato Hailemariam informed the community members of the Government’s activities in the provision of information and telecommunication services and said 1.5 billion dollar has already been spent for ICT infrastructure development with fiber optics installation for broadband connection now is in the final stage of completion. When this project is finalized, Ethiopia would be the third country in Africa with wide broadband coverage next to Egypt and South Africa, said the Minister.