7 August 2018

Ethiopia: Equipping Railway Logistics Sector With Capable Human Power

Photo: Bernard Chiguvare/GroundUp
(File photo).

Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia Economic and Commercial Counselor Liu Yu and EDRSC Director General Tilahun Sarka

No one denies that, human capital development is an essential component of nation building activity that is getting wider attention with increasing globalization in the world economy and the increasing wave of unemployment among the youths.

To catch up that gap nations are allocating resources in bid to stop the downturn in their various economies they are facing.

To garner the fundamental solutions from the human development efforts that had remained the major challenges in nation building. Ethiopia had shaped various policies and strategies to accomplish the tasks. This article tries to discuss efforts exerted that are underway to equip the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Share Company (EDRSC) skilled human development activities.

We know that the incumbent has been undertaking several transportation projects as part of a five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP), which aims to enhance the transportation network within the country by connecting to adjacent countries and ports. The National Railway Network of Ethiopia (NRNE) is believed to provide efficient mobility and improve the export and import activities, boosting the economic development.

To actualize these ERC has recognized eight railway routes as significant for development. Second to the Addis Ababa light Railway the Chinese-built and financed 756 km Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified rail had be inaugurated that are considering it a game changer in smoothing export and import activities.

Ethiopia with fastest growing economy is marching in various trajectories of tuning economic endeavors to ensure sustainable development and improve the livelihood of fellow citizens.

One point that in the sector got focus is actualizing capable human in the railway industry and running the railway corporation by local management, leadership and operators EDRSC. EDRSC Director General Tilahun Sarka stressed that the human resource development is the top priority of the corporation as the railway has been under the management of two Chinese companies, China Railway Group (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

"We should double our efforts in equipping the human capital in technical and administration layers."

He urged prospective trainees to ask questions Chinese instructors and lecturers until they grab the right skill and knowledge; he also informed the instructor's real will and keenness to encode the sector system.

He also confirmed that Ethiopia chose China as its main colleague in railway sector because of the country had already established well advanced railway systems.

"The good thing about Chinese instructors and lecturers, as long as you keep on asking questions you will get what you need, so be confident, don't be afraid, don't be shy, ask questions," he said.

As to him, EDRSC is working on enabling local professionals to take over the railway transportation system is underway working on human capital development efforts in various fronts.

If the knowledge transfer procedure is effectively underway and pertinent stakeholders work in line with the set goals, the railway service will be completely managed by locals within the coming few years, he indicated.

"Keeping the ration of the EDRSC share, we are engaged in training about 50 Ethiopian and Djiboutian prospective train drivers. These trainees will exchange ideas on topics related to railway operations technologies and railway management, that could realize and create a competent and skilled labor force to operate the Chinese-built and financed 756 km Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified rail line," he noted.

The line has great impact in easing mobility of goods and people in the logistics services.

The Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia Economic and Commercial Counselor Liu Yu, for her part noted that Chinese see this railway as sign of development, corporation and friendship between the two countries that is why Chinese government has been taking unremitting efforts to guarantee the railway a good and sustainable operation from the very beginning.

According to her, series of intensive training will be actualized, above all, the Chinese government is building Ethiopia railway academy to help Ethiopia cultivate its own talents and self operating at early stage. The academy is already under design in Bishoftu. The government has donated 60 million USD for the construction. Ethiopia and China have been enjoying strong relationship and cooperating in different areas, one of which is human capacity building takes the epicenter.

The standard gauge railway provides both passenger and freight services between Addis Ababa and Djibouti and has been carried out with an investment of 4 billion U.S. dollars with China's Exim Bank providing the loan to cover it.

Ethiopia and China have been moving in the fast lane, with rapid progress in all areas of pragmatic cooperation in many fields, said Liu Yu.

In line with the cooperation between the two countries in human resource development, China has provided training programs to more than 5,500 Ethiopians in China, under the China-Aid Framework, covering various fields, including, education, health, governance, agriculture and manufacturing.

In 2018, China provides hundreds of training programs at multilateral level, training areas at the bilateral level with Ethiopia include industrial park management, investment promotion, railway management, hydroelectric technologies, poverty reduction, urban development, science and technology, industrial technologies, social governance and media technology.

He Ding, Vice President of Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO) of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said the participants will receive training on the management of rail operations.

Eyoba Dubale one of the prospective railway trainees told The Ethiopian Herald the training has enabled him and his friends to learn the practical skills and knowledge as well the theory part. "The trainers from China are dedicated in assisting us. The training is going well in its schedules and we are happy of the whole process. After the training we will be assistant driver and after establishing comprehensive skills and knowledge as well as attitude of serving in the system we will charge of take over the driving responsibility to the service the logistics sector for the common good." According to him, successive training will be framed as to fill the gaps of the prospective railway drivers' trainees, he noted.

He also noted that efforts underway to equip the human capital bearing fruits, shaping in Ethio- Djibouti railway. "The hands on training were fantastic in making us well informed about all the industry and the logistics sector in detail."

Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia Economic and Commercial Counselor Liu Yu and EDRSC Director General Tilahun Sarka

BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME

Attention for Western Ethiopia's Heritage

Ethiopia has a significant contribution of tourism sector revenue to its GDP. The sector is also creating considerable job opportunities for citizens. Currently, the sector's share is accounting billions of dollars with increasing flow of tourists. Thus, the country has planned to earn about six billion dollars in the second Growth and Transformation Plan. This is mainly by introducing nations historical and natural as well as cultural tourism resources.

In this regard, while the country has given relatively more concern by promoting and protecting its resources in the north, the western part of the nation's heritages seem to be forgotten. However, the area has abundant resources of natural and cultural as well as historical resources.

The heritages such as Palace of Aba Jifar of Jima, British Consular of before Italian aggression, Anderacha Medhanialem Church which is found in Kefa Zone and Tengola Mosque which accounts more than 800 years are some of the resources the nation is endowed with. The National Parliament Committee for Culture and Tourism Affairs, disclosed recently that these heritages are denied due protection and preservation.

As of the committee's Deputy Chairman Alemitu Tufa, British consular which is found at Gore, was established based on the letter of the government of the then British at about 1907. This historical important site is currently suffering from damage because of the absence of timely renewal service. But she said that older age trees found in the compound of the consular heritage gives additional value and it is being visited by few peoples including University students.

Alemitu also mentioned the issue of historical Palace of Aba Jifar, which is triggering series public grievance currently. As of her explanation the palace is constructed before 140 years ago from domestic woods, now the woods are getting old, and its pillars are decomposed by termites. The recently made renewal trials for about three times resulted in the change of the palaces cultural value due to the replacement of some of its pillars with new wood inputs. She also added that the palace's compound lack proper hygiene, with absence of some facilities like toilet and water. This heritage is also lacking competent tourist guides with knowledge for tourists.

Another potential resource of the state is the coffee museum which was planned to be constructed by national coordinating committee of Ethiopian Millennium celebration, with the aim of making the museum center of coffee species and DNA research and destination of coffee tourism. In addition, the museum has also another plan to serve as coffee exhibition center. Even though its construction was finalized three years back, because it doesn't given legal acknowledgement, it couldn't start its intended service and causing grievance in the peoples around.

Anderacha Mdehanealem Church is constructed at the end of 19th century, and it has 44 windows with classic amazing paintings. But now, this church is also suffering from old age problems. Older age paintings are being damaged, its wall is cracking and ruining. The whole building of the church is sinking. In the same way she noted that, the Tengola Dare Selam Mosque, which is found in Bonga, the capital of Kefaa is accounted about 840 years. This historical heritage is also now facing many problems as a result of renewal and repairing service.

Muhajeb Abdu, who is member of the committee also said, "There is a gap in preservation and promotion of heritages in western part of the country. The repairing and renewal services are also not being conducted in the way the heritages didn't lose their values. And these are seen as the problem of good governance in the area, she emphasized.

Director General of Heritage Research and Preservation Authority Yonas Desta elaborated on the readiness from the government part to make necessary solutions for these heritages. He said that international custom dictates to work on heritages that are recognized by UNESCO with due attention, but it is essential to protect and preserve unregistered heritages too. As one of the gaps he mentioned, the budget allocation problem of ministry of finance and economic partnership, which centralizes only international heritages. But, these heritages should be addressed by searching for different options, he underscored.

These heritages of western Ethiopia have different significances, specially some of them have crucial role in the political history of the country, and therefore; it is important to work for their development, protection and promotion; above all, purpose with raising the countries tourism revenue, Yonas stressed.

(Tanslated from Addis Zemen)

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