A call for Ethiopia's New Year 2010 to be a year of peace, unity, and development

In his New Year message, President Dr. Mulatu Teshome called for the forthcoming year to be a period in which citizens worked in harmony for the realization of the country's development goals. The President urged the need to consolidate efforts for the sustainability of the country's rapid economic growth. He stressed that activities to help the eradication of poverty and the realization of the goals set in the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan needed to continue to get special attention. Indeed, to realize these, the country needs to work on improving its competitiveness at global level, the President said. He called for the introduction of up-to-date systems and technologies in the agriculture sector and for extensive improvements in the value chain. This would help accelerate the structural transformation in the coming years. President Dr. Mulatu underlined that the national agenda for development was the responsibility of all citizens, and he urged everybody to help prevent and avoid destructive activities.

On New Year's Eve, Sunday (September 10), Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn told the nation: "Since the beginning of the third Ethiopian millennium, we are in the process of defeating our long rooted arch-enemy, poverty. We will continue to do so". The Prime Minister was addressing thousands of Ethiopians gathered at the Millennium hall to celebrate the start of the Ethiopian New Year, 2010. Recalling that the country has witnessed an average of 10% growth over more than the past decade, Prime Minister Hailemariam said all Ethiopians should continue with their strong commitment to achieve the country's development goals. He pointed out that modernizing agriculture, developing industry, strengthening small and medium enterprises, and attracting Foreign Direct Investment were among the government's priority areas for the New Year. The Prime Minister underlined the extensive efforts being carried out to equip youth with up-to-date technologies while creating an abundance of job opportunities in urban areas. He emphasized the policy of empowering women and making them active participants and beneficiaries in the overall development of the country continued to be a major priority.

The Prime Minister spoke of the activities aimed to maintain and expand the multi-party system and enhance the democratization process. These, he stressed, would be continued and developed. The government, continuing its in-depth evaluation, would work to root out poor governance and rent-seeking attitudes and behavior wherever they were to be found. He noted that Ethiopians had always managed to maintain their unity even during times of adversity, and he urged the public to continue to strengthen their culture of peaceful coexistence and harmony throughout the country. Prime Minister Hailemariam expressed his wishes for 2010 to be a year of peace, unity, and development for all Ethiopians. .

In his speech, the President, as usual, announced pardons for 697 prisoners in connection with the Ethiopian New Year.  Regional administrations also gave pardons for the New Year for prisoners who had showed regret for their actions and met the requirements for pardon. In Tigray Regional State, for example, 957 prisoners were released; the Amhara Regional State administration released 1,918 prisoners, and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's (SNNP) Regional State pardoned 3,099 prisoners and reduced the sentences of some others.

The Minister for the Government Communication Affairs Office, Dr. Negeri Lencho, told a press conference that preparations had been made to cope with any challenges and continue Ethiopia's growth in the New Year. He said the Government attached prime importance to carrying out successful work in the New Year, integrating peace, unity, democracy and development. The Minister noted that the ten day celebration launched on August 30 as a prelude to welcoming the New Year on Monday, September 11, had contributed greatly to inspiring the people to embrace peace and enhanced development in the New Year. He said the government would strengthen its strategy of solving problems before they arise. He also noted that the Government was working to improve the economic growth of the country, completing the major development projects, attracting more investment and coping with emergencies, including drought. He emphasized that the Government would be intensifying the ongoing fight against corruption in the New Year and he urged the public to do their part in assisting the Government's New Year plans. Dr. Negeri wished all Ethiopians a New Year of peace and health.