To become a better achiever in any field, one must start practicing in what he/ she wants to achieve in the course of life. Any beginning might not be that much promising, but if one really wants it and makes it to happen, it needs courage and determination throughout the journey to success. Even most of the motivational or inspiring books and speeches provide guidance to have a clear objective and to be determined to achieve the goals intended to achieve.
It was not long behind in terms of time to bear witness the bright initiatives from the current leaders of Ethiopia to build a prosperous nation in the coming few years. The new reformist government has become people’s elected and legal government for the coming five years. Even before the new government’s official establishment, in the past few years, many promising deeds have been performed and seen in reality. Before that, most of the people of Ethiopia were not in the mood of building their one and the only motherland. This was due to the blurred and vague picture and future of the country.
Commendably, one of the most famous initiatives launched few years ago by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was the green legacy and beautifying the nation so as to building green economy. The Premier has planned to meet a goal of planting 20 billion seedlings within four consecutive years from 2019 up to 2022. A record number of nearly 354 million trees were planted in a single day. Concluding the 2020’s campaign, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, “Our Green Legacy initiative is critical to Ethiopia’s aspirations to build a green and climate-resilient economy.”
Accordingly, from the same initiative, the Prime Minister started beautifying the city and preserving cultural places like historic residential palaces of the nation’s former kings’ and Heads of State to make them tourist attraction sites. The initiation also helps the city shines to live up its name. The best illustrations for the above idea are the Unity Park and the Entoto National Park. These two places found in the capital city have their own background history. Unity Park was used as a palace for the former rulers of Ethiopia starting from Emperor Menelik II and continued serving in the same way until now. On the other hand, Entoto was the first place where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace, and founded the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa later on. Anyone who visits the site can observe plenty of architectural beauty on the famous churches like Saint Raguel and Saint Mary at Entoto.
Starting with the Unity Park, as it is found at the heart of the city, it has become one of the leading tourist attraction sites not only in Addis Ababa, but also throughout the country. With several eye-catching scenes along with artificial zoo with endemic animals. Even though the park is opened two years ago, it has brought plenty of benefits to the people and the government as well. Since the last two years, the pandemic COVID-19 has greatly pressed the world economy. However, the Unity Park has not been closed by the effect of the pandemic; instead, it has kept up serving as a place to get some psychological relief to the people but with great caution to protect transmission of the virus.
In a press release, the CEO of the Unity Park, Tamirat Haile (PhD) announced that more than half a million local and international tourists have visited the Park. From the tourists who have visited the Park, over 25 thousand of them were international tourists. Furthermore, “More than 480 thousand of the tourists paid for their visit, and more than 100 thousand of them got the chance to visit the park without paying in order to build the country’s image,” the CEO explained.
By the same token, the Entoto area located at the northern part of Addis Ababa, remained untouched for several years. People who live around that area and the nearby part of the city used the mountain’s forest just to gather firewood and some others, especially athletes, use it to training and physical exercise. To the surprise of all, however, part of the place has now changed radically and it becomes one of the places that the people prefer to go.
During a moment with The Ethiopian Herald, Merhawi Belay, representative of the park stated that after having an agreement with the local and international investors, the government has facilitated some things for the investors to invest and change the area to become one of the recreational sites in Addis.
Merhawi added that it has been a year since the park was opened to the public. Since then, more than 1.5 million visitors have come to the park. While 80 percent of the visitors were local tourists, the rest 20 percent were from abroad. Unlike the Unity Park, Merhawi explained that Entoto National Park is free of entrance fee. People need not pay to visit the park for a while. But in the near future, tourists will be asked to pay for their tour in the park.
This project is a work of partnership between the government and investors who want to invest their assets in such valuable projects. The government takes the leading role in providing necessary infrastructure along with the basic needs and following up the progress, the Representative said. He further highlighted: “We all know that the park’s project is the Prime Minister’s initiative, so when investors ask for a place to invest and working in the park, the first thing they are required to fulfill is if they believe in and work with the initiative’s idea. At this time, more than 20 investors have started their business and provided services in the Park.”
The representative further explained that all the investors haven’t got any loan from the government. All the things were done from the investors’ own pockets. In the coming years, the government will own the area and the investors who have invested will rent the place again from the government. This will help the nation to get economic benefit from the investment. With these preconditions, there are many investors who still want to invest at Entoto. The management is working hard to respond to their queries shortly. Besides, investors will take the lion’s share to be involved in the investment.
Merhawi also remarked that the services that tourists get in the park are fair when compared to the cost of services in the city. The management also works with the investors on providing better and quality services to the visitors.
In this context, the newly launched parks have contributed greatly for the social, economic and cultural aspects of the country. In addition, they give the real image to the city to shine as it is the home for many national and international organizations. Previously, the city was under critique for not having anything to visit or a place to spend time. Thanks to the Premier’s initiative, now the city is getting blessed with many places to spend a time with the beloved ones and visit the historic capital of Africa. Moreover, these city parks have brought economic advantages to the country on top of creating ample of job opportunities for many citizens including the women used to collect firewood from the forest under various hardship circumstances, it is learned.
BY DANIEL ALEMAYEHU
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD OCTOBER 15/2021