The Implications of the Beginning of Organizational Advocacy Service in Ethiopia

The provision of organizational advocacy services established as law firms has a long history. Guinness World Records notes that Thomson Snell & Passmore law firm, established in 1570 in the United Kingdom, is the oldest continuously operating law firm. Similarly, the first law firm in the United States was established 12 years after independence from Great Britain. Rawle & Henderson LLP, a law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the oldest law firm in continuous practice there. Established in 1783, the firm is one of the leading practices in admiralty and maritime law.

Contracting on the sale and transfer of immovable properties in the acts and documents registration office has recently been suspended for unknown period of time for reasons related to land corruption. Land grabbing through illegal fencing of green areas and other open public spaces, pocket pieces of land, annexation and illegal documentation to the extent of issuing title deeds are believed to be the reasons as they were becoming day to day illegal experiences in Addis. These issues are also amidst the causes that further complicated our metropolitan politics and led to the substitution of former deputy Mayor Takele Uma by Adanech Abiebie. Assessment based disclosure of the land corruption facts by EZEMA has also changed the political landscape the mayor has been manipulating.

What to Expect From the Government

It is a universal truth that governments should protect the rights of citizens and one of such rights is the right to property. This right is not an ordinary right that can be infringed by anyone and it is more of a human right that needs protection from the government. This truth is also part of our constitution and the international human rights conventions Ethiopia adopted as part of its domestic law.

Despite its low purchasing power, Ethiopia, a country with more than one hundred and five million people, has one of the biggest market potentials in Africa. The consumer, however, is not very well taken care of. As the saying goes, consumption is life. When consumption and the patterns involved are affected, the intricacies of consumer protection come into the picture.

Recently, the mayor of Addis Ababa appealed to real estate developers to cooperate with his administration in its effort to manage the housing problem of the city which is becoming critical social and economic problem. Actually housing is a national problem in almost all the cities and towns of Ethiopia . As a study published in 2010 indicated, in Addis Ababa alone there was a need for between 350, 000 to 450, 000 housing units over the next 10 years. Coupled with this, the additional demand that has been created over the years makes the housing problem a real burning issue.

Ethiopia has been making various reforms that may finally lead it towards genuine democratization. Part of the reform measures has been the court reform effort within the macro legal reform program. Ethiopia’s court system has been hassled by the drastic upheavals in the political system over more than half a century. Although the country successfully implanted modern codes of law in the 1960s, establishing a court system that can accommodate the modern laws have been and is still the challenge. Accordingly, the country’s modern civil law, penal law, and commercial law are ahead of the level where the court system needs to be to understand them, let alone apply them.

Critical Policy Attentions

Recently, the Ethiopian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed terminated high-profile corruption charges brought against Melaku Fenta and Gebrewahid Gebregziabher, former Director General and former Deputy Director General of the Law Enforcement Division at the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) respectively. Prominent businessmen, such as Nega Gebreegziabher, owner of Netsa Trading PLC; Ketema Kebede, owner of KK PLC; and Fikru Maru (MD), founder and CEO of Addis Cardiac Hospital; and Simachew Kebede, major shareholder of DH Simex Plc which owns Intercontinental Addis Hotel were also charged with corruption-related offenses.

During the recent discussion Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) held with the business community in Addis Ababa, one of the major issues raised by the representatives of the private sector was the shortage of foreign currency that has seriously affected their businesses as well as the entire nation. As part of the response, the Prime Minister asked the business leaders to bring back the hard currency they have in foreign banks in Dubai. He said Ethiopian businesses have lots of money deposited in foreign currency in Dubai and Chinese banks. Although asking the businesses to bring back the scarce foreign currency is a right thing to do as part of a short term solution, it is essential to see what factors the businesses to put their money in foreign countries.

Responsible governance needs to address the interest and concerns of consumers by protecting them from market abuses. The protection is made through various regulatory frameworks and institutional establishments peculiar to the specific situation of each country and market situation. The right of consumers has long been recognized by the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection and member of countries are encouraged and advised to have their own domestic law to regulate consumer rights. Accordingly many countries work to regulate the right of their consumers through various legal and institutional arrangements. The international organization named Consumer International has also been the focal international organization to promote consumer’s rights and the protection to be accorded.

The number of public universities in Ethiopia has increased from two in 1991 to 35 in 2015. With ten more planned to be established during the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). Not only that, the universities have also increased admission capacity in several folds, making it possible for the country to produce more than one hundred thousand graduates per annum. Private institutions of higher education also produce several thousand graduates annually.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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