Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Rightly So, Commander!

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was directed by Chief of Staff Samora Yenus (Gen) to a seat on Friday afternoon, February 8, 2013, before he opened an exhibition in Addis Abeba, launching a series of events to mark "Army Day."

Siraj Fegesa, minister of Defense hopes the exhibition, the first to be held inside the Addis Abeba Exhibition Centre since the late 1970s, would show the army's mission beyond defending the nation's sovereignty and its contributions to "infrastructure development, technology transfer and ensuring electronics security." The army's top brass believe such series of events staged for the first time in two decades, and after the reorganisation of the army, will help them restore the positive image of the army and change the unfavourable perception people may have towards its rank and file.

A collection of military and industrial hardware was showcased at the display at Meskel Square, where the army anticipates to host over 250,000 visitors during the seven days where the exhibition remains open for the public, a high ranking army general told Fortune. The Ministry of Defence, jointly with Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), managed by Kinfe Dagnew (BGen.), is displaying weapons and armaments as well as military and civil software and hardware manufactured, modified and assembled by its members, to the public.

"We want people to see the military is not simply a collection of people trained for combat," said another high ranking army officer, who is also commander of one of the forces. "The army has people the public should be proud of for their experience, intellect and innovation, whose works are displayed here today."

In one of the two pavilions inside the Exhibition Centre, the army also demonstrated several prototypes made by cadets whose potential commercial production the army believes save the nation from foreign exchange spending during imports. Amongst the displayed items are solar panels manufactured by MetEC in joint venture with an American company.Mobileand television handsets as well as communications gears branded "Fana" are also on display.

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