Ethiopia’s National Day celebrated in London

22 Jun 2017

Ethiopia’s National Day was celebrated in London on 20th June at the prestigious Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington in the presence of a wide range of guests from diplomatic missions, the foreign office, parliamentarians, investors, members of the diaspora and friends of Ethiopia.

In his speech to mark the occasion, the Ambassador recalled that diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the UK had existed since 1900, though there had been numerous contacts in the early 1890s and before. The Ambassador praised the role that Britain had played in helping defeat Mussolini’s occupying forces in Ethiopia.

He then outlined the colossal changes that have taken place since the fall of the Derg regime in 1991 – how 80 plus nations and nationalities now have their rights guaranteed, the advantages of the federal system and regular elections, with women participating at every level.

Ethiopia has registered double-digit growth for the last 14 years and this is set to continue as Ethiopia is attracting both foreign direct investment and Private Equity investment as well as encouraging domestic investors to go into manufacturing. Vast industrial parks are transforming the economy which will be carbon neutral by 2030.

The Ambassador highlighted the strong advances made in both the education and health sectors, with now universal primary education and vastly increased levels of secondary and tertiary education. All villages now have health extension workers, clinics and access to an ambulance.

Massive infrastructure projects are linking Ethiopia up with neighbouring countries and beyond with new roads, railways and, of course, state-owned Ethiopian Airlines which links Ethiopia to more than 95 international destinations over five continets. Renewable energy, produced by hydro dams, already offers the cheapest electricity in the world to Ethiopia’s neighbours and, in future, this benefit will extend to the rest of Africa and beyond as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam goes fully operational.

Ethiopia is a strong diplomatic partner within the AU and IGAD, where it works towards economic integration. Ethiopia is now a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Ethiopia’s former health minister is now the Director General of the World Health Organisation.

The new Land of Origins logo is inspiring travellers to an ever-widening range of tourism attractions – be they historic, religious or cultural and there is a growing interest in adventure travel and cycling holidays – the latter offered by Tadele Travel, who were at the reception.

The Ambassador concluded by praising Ethio-UK co-operation in development, in promoting trade and investment and job creation, education, health and gender equality, the environment and of course, helping to ensure peace and stability and fighting terrorism in the Horn region.

Laurence Robertson MP

In speeches, Laurence Robertson MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethiopia and Djibouti, praised Ethiopia for topping the World Bank’s list of the fastest growing world economies, and Julie Green, author of the superlative Ethiopia Past and Present, a photographic memoir of Ethiopia, extending over many years, spoke of her long-standing love of Ethiopia.

Full coverage of the celebrations can be found on our YouTube page.

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