Building Ethiopian-Polish partnerships
Adama (Ethiopia) 12th May 2015
H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), inaugurated, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Lech Walesa, former President of the Republic of Poland, an agricultural tractor assembly plant of the company URSUS, established in Adama, about a hundred kilometers from Addis Ababa. Adama is the third largest city of Ethiopia in terms of population.
This project fits into the implementation framework of the 2015 objectives of the African Union. 2015 having been proclaimed the year of Empowerment of the African woman by the 25th Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa last January. Thus, H.E Dr. Dlamini Zuma has been following up the activities of this agricultural tractor production factory, which will help to improve the living conditions of the rural population and, in particular, empower women in rural areas.
Indeed, women are key development actors in Africa, representing 70 percent of labour in the agricultural sector and the largest number of smallholders, and contribute about 80% of agricultural production to feed 900 million people on the continent.
Yet, they have neither access nor control when it comes to land and productive resources, and even less, access to credit. They are subjected to working in deplorable conditions, as well as using archaic agricultural production implements such as the hand-hold hoe.
With a view to empowering the African woman, several initiatives are being launched across the continent by women, women networks and women organisations so that the theme of the AU Summit: “Empowerment and development of women to achieve Agenda 2063” can be realised.
The inaugural ceremony of the agricultural tractor assembly plant in Adama is one of those initiatives. It is expected that it will contribute to the much needed empowerment in rural areas and that the factory will not only increase substantially women’s revenue but will also enhance the national and the regional or even continental economies.
During this event, H.E. Dr. Dlamini Zuma was accompanied by an emblematic Polish figure, H.E. Mr. Lech Walesa, 6th President of the Republic of Poland and Nobel Peace Laureate in 1983.
Addressing the gathering, the AUC Chairperson expressed her delight to see that Agenda 2063 is already on the move through this Ethiopian-Polish partnership, which underlines the importance of technology transfer, job creation and training as well as the enhancement of the quality and volume of agricultural production, thus contributing to the well-being of the final users, notably women and the entire population.
Indeed, the URSUS factory has increased its annual tractor production, which has risen from 1,000 to 32,000. The factory employs 200 people, all of them Ethiopians, who periodically receive training from Polish experts.
The General Manager of the Polish company URSUS expressed his satisfaction with this fruitful collaboration. Those tractors were the product of the two countries. In his opinion, this assembly plant is the most modern in Africa.
Speaking in turn, the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture declared that this private sector project will help Ethiopia move from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture, thus adding value to the agricultural sector.
For his part, H.E. Mr. Lech Walesa stressed the importance of peace as the foundation of development. He himself had contributed to peace in his own country and continues to do so throughout the world.
The ceremony was hosted by URSUS CEO and METEC Director General, representing respectively the Polish and Ethiopian companies which signed a partnership agreement for the construction of the factory.
Several distinguished guests also attended the ceremony, namely H.E. Mr. Jacek Jankowski, Ambassador of Poland in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, staff members of the Bureau of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission as well as high-ranking officials of the Government of Ethiopia.
African Union Commission