By SD Kabo (Abush.nl)
This is intended for Ethiopian millennials.
In this brief essay, I will try to explain my view about Ethiopia, my hope, my wish, and my optimism. To some, my optimism may appear unnecessarily stretched. But remember, I am telling you this in the last week of 2020. Looking ahead, the world does not afford anything but optimism-so as Ethiopia.
Dear young Ethiopians please take five minutes to think about what your country went through. Do not go far back, think not about prehistoric time; this is about your future and your countries future, so go back only a few years with a focus on 2020. If you look and search, there they are! Lots of hope, enormous possibilities, countless opportunities. If you critically evaluate what is happening right now, there are real potentials for positive and significant changes. There is attainable prosperity right at the corner. In short, Ethiopia is at the ideal time for a positive, holistic, and structural change.
Here you may ask: where does this surreal optimism come from?
To answer this question and demonstrate the ever-brighter future of that country I will discuss five possibilities, why I think the future of Ethiopia and Ethiopians is so bright, that I could see it from far away. These five points explain internally created possibilities for a prosperous future for the people of Ethiopia. I focus my arguments regardless of the party or events responsible for the creation of these fascinating opportunities.
What I call internal possibilities are opportunities created by events that happened within the country which are caused by Ethiopians themselves, regardless of the intention of the creator(s). In this group, there are five possibilities which arise from (1) the countries demography: which consists of a huge number of young population (2) Education: increasing access and opportunity for modern schooling. (3) atrocities: forgive me but I also think there are ways to use the unthinkable massacres that keep happening in different parts of the country as motivating factors for a revolutionary change. The fourth possibility comes from the reform measures taken by PM Abi Ahmed (the redeemer). Finally, the most electrifying internally created possibilities arise from the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The following section will explain my assessment of the internally created possibilities. Ethiopia is a country of millennials there is a huge number of young population in the country . Think about a country where two-thirds of its 120+ million population is under the age of 30. Regardless of the characteristics possessed by this huge population size, Ethiopia’s demographic makeup provides the country with enormous possibilities for innovation and progress. Thus, millennials should acknowledge the socio-political and economic influence that comes with their number. Thus, it should come with a sit on the table to decide on the countries future. However, the youth should also recognize that a number by itself is just a number:
While young people can be a great force for economic and political change, a common misperception is that a large youth population can itself predict a coming demographic dividend. To benefit from a demographic dividend, however, countries must first achieve a demographic transition-move from high to low birth and death rates. A focus on Ethiopia’s young population through sustained investments in adolescent and youth-friendly family planning, health, education, and job creation will create an environment for Ethiopia to benefit from a demographic dividend. (MEGQUIER & BELOHLAV, 2014, pp. 1-2).
I believe Ethiopian millennials do understand the need to improve their ‘quality’ through education. After all, the way to innovation needs to be supported by access to information and proper education. Think about what an educated and devoted millennial can do in a country like Ethiopia.
The unfortunate incidents that keep happening in the country continue to take the lives of innocent people. These atrocities are clear indications of the homework protracted for centuries and must be dealt with now and by the new generation. Maternal and child mortality, unemployment, migration, exploitation of our sisters and brothers in the middle east, brain drain, and racism that fellow Ethiopians in the diaspora suffer. Dear millennials, it’s up to you to change these…isn’t it exciting? You will probably get your names written in history books- እየደነሱ : ይስቁ ::
Earlier I have asked you to think about what your country went through in the past few years: sad, depressing, unthinkable, unacceptable… Well, whoever is doing it got to stop, right? Well, unlike 97 you are not alone! Ethiopia has a redeemer now, you have a prime minister you love, a leader who speaks for you. Well, probably not for all 120 million Ethiopians. However, PM Abi Ahmed has been (and still) enjoys overwhelming support from mainstream Ethiopians most of whom seeing him as a redeemer of their country.
That’s not all there is to excite Ethiopian youth going to the future. Think about the renaissance dam (great name, thank you, PM Meles Zenawi). The GERD is a replacement for a national symbol the country has been craving for years. Sadly, the green, yellow, and red flag, which (I believe) is the symbol of black power, is not getting the respect it deserves in the country. However, gladly, this dam has shown everyone how big national projects can also be used as a national symbol and help unite a country when needed.
Finally, there is one sub-section to the internally created opportunities which is also connected to external actors: Movement of people. Globalization facilitates the movement of people, goods (coffee), ideas, etc. The movement of people exposes people to attitude change. Once migrated, people get a new pair of glasses to see the world. This new perspective leads to a different grasp and a new understanding of oneself and one’s own country. It is important to know that, not just what we think about ourselves, but also what others think about us is important. Opportunities come with exposure to a new, society, new culture, new ways of thinking, and doing things thus, new perspective. Countries like Ethiopia could choose from a variety of proven options. They could adjust it as needed or even change it upside-down according to their needs and use it to transform their country.
I believe with the love and loyalty most Ethiopians have for their country, what was missing was: motivation, real motivation for change like we see today. Do you think things should not be allowed to go back to how they were in the country? Or stay as they are now? Do you think there is a need for change, Yes? Well then, the leadership seems to agree with that. I believe PM Abi Ahmed brings enormous opportunities your way. Thus, millennials, you had better realize that you have a powerful ally in 4killo and that could mean everything to bring about change.
The primary role of the youth must be keeping the powerful accountable. Ethiopia needs youth activists and young politicians. Self-initiated social activism should not be seen as a mere badge of honor. Millennials had better fight unemployment, unearned privileges, ethnocentrism, patriarchy, sexism, and any form of discrimination. Civic and interest groups with a clear and pragmatic objective should be initiated and managed by the millennials. Ethiopian youth should take over its country’s destiny from the hands of corrupt politicians, greedy and mean capitalists countries, the so-called ‘international’ humanitarian organizations whose only success so far seems to aggravate the incubation of corruption. Millennials should look-out for multi-national companies that have no sound strategy for corporate social responsibilities and whose primary interest is exploiting the cheap labor force.
Huajian, meanwhile, has been moving production to Ethiopia, where workers make around $100 a month, a fraction of what they pay in China, according to Song Yiping, a manager at Huajian’s Ethiopian factory, who spoke to the AP in January. He said he’s heard President Trump talk about bringing jobs back to America, but he doubts that will happen with shoes. Even Chinese vocational school dropouts don’t want to work for Ethiopian wages. https://ecadforum.com/2017/06/28/ethiopia-making-ivanka-trump-shoes-long-hours-low-pay-and-abuse/.
It is the millennials’ responsibility to clean out the old and failed politicians with an ethnocentric and outdated mentality from local and national leadership. The millennials need to actively participate in local and national politics. In a country like Ethiopia, it must be the millennials who decide which politician has the right to represent them. Try to know your local politics: who is going to represent your community from Keble to the national parliament? You can learn from other countries, think about what more President Barak Obama could have done in his eight years as a president of the USA if it wasn’t for the privileged, rotten, and racist republicans in the house and the senet.
As you know, the general election in Ethiopia will be held in a few months’ time. It seems PM Abi Ahmed has a great chance for a win. But wait, he cannot reform the entire system alone. Ethiopia needs structural change (a rebirth) the youth needs to be an active participant in the reform of its country. Dear Ethiopian millennials, it is your responsibility to make sure to know who represents you in the coming election. Do you think he/she is qualified? Stands for the rights of Ethiopians regardless of ethnicity. Does he/she have a plan to create jobs? What has that person done to the community before? What is his/her vision for a united, democratic, and economically self-sufficient, and politically independent Ethiopia?
Or there is no such person in your kebele or wereda?
But do you know anyone who does? Think about your friends, old classmates from high school, or college, do you believe one of your friends has the fire in them to do what it takes, Yes? Then go encourage them to run for office and make sure their intellect gets enough attention. Or maybe it is you? Why not you? Do you think you have the skills, are you qualified, can you do a better job than that guy who has been in office for the past three decades and has nothing tangible to show for it? Do you have ideas to create jobs in your city, Yes? Then please run for office. Once you show what you can do, it will be your local community elders that push and support you to run for national office next term.
In my next essay, I will continue with the Externally created opportunities that primarily come from outside the country and include (1) Globalization and movement of people (2) Threats coming from outside forces (Egypt, Sudan, and the international media) (3) the Internet (after all the millennials are a Facebook generation) (4) the Peace with Eritrea, which was engineered by PM Abi Ahmed and helped him win the Nobel peace prize for 2019. This peace pact brings enormous advantages to the two blood-brother countries. Finally, I will indulge myself in looking for the good in monsters such as populism (Trumpism, PVVism), and the extent of bigotry shown by the slaying of George Floyd in broad daylight in front of seven billion people.
The writer can be reached at 30 30 <firstname.lastname@example.org>