Learn about the Midroc Technology Group based in Addis Ababa in a new edition of Africa Travel magazine and DVD.

In The Queen of Sheba's Footsteps
by Jerry W. Bird

Given Aladdin's 3 wishes I would: (1) Restore Emperor Haile Sellasie's original 'Lion of Judah' railway engine that's standing all alone in the train yard. (2) Hook it up to the Emperor's prized set of antique French and British crafted coaches, and (3) Operate a twice daily luxury tour on the Franco-Ethiopian Railway.

 About Ethiopia's Millennium
September 2007: Ethiopia celebrates its bimillenary (1). It is the occasion to reconsider a long history, if particular in that of the African continent. Ethiopia is one of the only nations of Africa to have preserved its sovereignty during the dismemberment of the continent, at the XIXe century. It is one of the States founders of United Nations (UNO). The Ethiopian State is two thousand years old. It finds its origin at the first century of the Christian era in the kingdom of Axoum, which extended from Sudan in current Yemen through the Red Sea. This kingdom had two faces, one préchrétien, immortalized by elegant obelisks (of which one was recently repatriated of Rome). The other is Christian, and its heritage remains still present today. Axoum symbolizes moreover the monarchical principle, so essential in the history of the country until its abolition, in a brutal way, at the time of the revolution of 1974 (2). It is interesting to note that the historical roots of Islam intermingle with those with Ethiopia. Indeed, it is in Axoum that the Mahomet prophet and his faithful found asylum whereas they fled persecutions of the lords of the tribe of Quraychites, which dominated Mecque at the time. (Excerpt from Le Monde).


President's Millennium Message

Dear Compatriots, 

Fellow Africans both at home and the Diaspora and friends of Ethiopia.

Today is unique and momentous day. It is the eve of the beginning of a new Ethiopian millennium. We are about to welcome a new millennium which by the unanimous decision of the African union and the consent of fellow Africans throughout the world is also an African millennium. It is therefore with great pride and pleasure that I wish you all a happy new year, a happy new century and a happy new millennium. 

Allow me to at the outset to thank to all those who have made it possible for us to celebrate the occasion in such a festive and Joyous fashion. The council established to organize the celebrations ably led by Deputy Prime Minister Ato Addissu Legesse, the various councils and committees established throughout the country and abroad have earned the gratitude and admiration of all of us for their dedication and excellent organizational skills. 

Millions of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia have made enormous contributions for the success of the celebrations and I am very grateful for their contribution. 

Our emerging private sector has shouldered the lion's share of the cost of the celebrations and we thank them all for their contribution. In this regard I wish to recognize the unique contribution of sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi who among many other things has built this magnificent facility in a matter of just a few months to grace the occasion. 

I would also wish to thank our heroic athletes who have not only added to our joy through their usual spectacular success in international competition but also used the occasion to introduce our millennium to people through out the world watching their fiats of sportsmanship. 

I would like to ask, Ethiopians everywhere to convey our special thanks to all those distinguished leaders and heads of delegations who have joined us here today. Their presence with us here today is a magnificent reflection of their friendship to Ethiopia. Our special thanks also to our union, the African union and fellow Africans in the continent and the Diasporas who have always steadfastly stood beside us in our hours of need and who in that sprit have decided to declare the Ethiopian millennium as the African millennium. It is with great pride in our pan-Africanist tradition that we thank all those Africans from Dakar to Djibouti, from Cape Town to Cairo, and everywhere in between who have made it a point of special significance to celebrate the occasion in their own countries in typically colorful and joyous African fashion. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart! 

Your Excellency, 

Dear compatriots, fellow African brothers and sisters and friends of Ethiopia. 

We do not have written records telling us how Ethiopians celebrated the end of the first millennium and the banging of the second one a thousand years ago. We can therefore not be certain as to what their festivities might have celebrated with a well deserved pride in their achievements. The after all could rightfully have claimed to be the makers of one of the most advanced nations of the day. After all, there is no denying that their phenomenal achievements are here with us today not only in the form of the historical relics that they have left but also in the form of the uniquely African script we still use and the very celebrations we are having today which is the result of the African calendar they developed. 

The last few centuries of our second millennium, however, have not been as glorious. While we can justly be proud of the fact that every generation of Ethiopians during those centuries have paid in blood to maintain our independence, we cannot but feel deeply insulted that at the dawn of new millennium ours is one of the poorest countries in the world. Over the course of our second millennium we have gone from being one of the most advanced nations on earth to that of being one of the poorest. Thought this process we have not been colonized by any foreign nations and hence we have always been the authors of our destiny, both our successes and failures. 

However, in the last few years of the departing millennium we have begun to fight back the darkness of poverty and backwardness with success. Our economy has been growing at over 10 percent per annum and on current trend we should achieve our objective of becoming a middle income country in about 20 years. In spite of lingering challenges we have made enormous strides in establishing a democratic system in our country a system that is rooted in our reality and one that is central to our future. 

After centuries of repeatedly aroused and dashed hopes, this generation of Ethiopians is turning a new page. A glorious new page of our history where poverty will merely be a footnote in our long history is being written with the sweet and toil of millions of farmers and pastoralist, businessmen both small and big and workers and the intelligentsia. Glorious new page of our history where our diversity becomes a source of strength through tolerance and democracy rather than a source of problems, through the patient and methodical efforts of all our nationalities, followers of all the great religions of our country, men and women, young and old. 

A thousands years from now, when Ethiopians gather to welcome the fourth millennium, they shall say that the eve of the third millennium was the beginning of the end dark ages in Ethiopia. They shall say that the eve of the third millennium was the beginning of Ethiopian renaissance. 

We are all acutely aware of the fact that a lot remains to be done to sustain our current achievements. We are all aware of that there are decades of hard work and toil ahead of us before we can confidently declare that the Ethiopian renaissance has been realized. But we also know that it can and will be done. We know that we can do it not only because all Ethiopian generations prior to our dark age had done it, but also because we, our own generation of Ethiopia have already began to do it. 

Dear compatriot! 

It is there fore with an acute sense of where we have been in the past and where we are now, with a keen sense of our historical mission that I can upon you today to stay the course of the Ethiopian the Ethiopia renaissance, to continue to work hard to make our current reality a mere footnote in our long and glorious history. It is with a sense of historical mission and total confidence in our capacity to over come all challenges that I can upon you today on the eve of a new millennium to join hands to rebuild an Ethiopia that we all can be proud of. It is with rekindled hope and confidence of the last years of the second millennium that I call upon you to realize the Ethiopian renaissance in all its forms poetically, economically socially and cultural. 

I wish you all happy New Year and a prosperous future in the new millennium.