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The Embassy Lecture Series 2013: Embassy of Ethiopia

Japanese (TOYO Global RDS)


The Embassy Lecture Series is hosted by the Faculty of Regional Development Studies. The final lecture of the 2013 series was held on Thursday, December 19, 2013. Ambassador Mr. Markos Tekle Rike gave an inspiring lecture to about seventy students and teachers who attended this great opportunity.

大使 集合写真

Ambassador Markos Tekle Rike first gave an overview of Ethiopia including details of geography and culture illustrated with PowerPoint images. The nation is located in the center of the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with the Sudan and South Sudan to the west; Eritrea to the north and north-east; Djibouti and Somaliland to the east; Somalia and Kenya to the south. Overall the country enjoys moderate temperatures and a pleasant climate, owing to the moderating influence of a high altitude. Blessed with water resources from the Blue Nile River, Ethiopia has created lots of dams for clean energy and aims at achieving zero emission by 2025. The government currently has ten UNESCO heritages and twenty national parks where visitors can enjoy watching various kinds of animals and viewing beautiful nature but these natural treasures have not yet been commercialized.  

In Ethiopia eighty different languages are spoken and all Ethiopians can speak more than two languages. The Ambassador speaks four languages. Another interesting fact is that Ethiopia was the second country to officially adopt Christianity after Armenia. In Ethiopia 34% people are Muslim and 60% are Christian. They co-exist peacefully and thus, may have family members who follow different religions. Coffee Arabica is believed to be the first coffee plants to be cultivated, grown in southwest Ethiopia. The coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is an integral part of their social and cultural life similar to the tea ceremony in Japan, where they exchange information and deepen their friendships. Therefore, 70% of the total coffee produced is domestically consumed.  

Next, Ambassador Markos Tekle Rike spoke about political and economic issues. He said their constitution provides for a federal form of Government with a bicameral parliament and a federal system with multiparty democracy, which has stabilized the nation but still needs further development. Ethiopia is the diplomatic center of Africa with the seat of major international organizations like the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and with the fourth largest diplomatic missions next to NY, Washington DC, and London.  

Agricultural industries such as crop production, livestock production, fishery, horticulture, beekeeping and forestry are the major areas of business in Ethiopia thanks to the vast suitable land and abundant water resources for such industry. However their complex topography and insufficient technology have delayed further development of the industry.  

In the last part of the lecture, the Ambassador spoke of the friendly relations that exist between Ethiopia and Japan and which have lasted about eighty years at the government level and through person-to-person interaction. Ethiopia once had a royal family. At that time the Japanese Royal family and the Ethiopian Royal family actively deepened their exchanges. Ethiopia adopted a Kaizen system, a Japanese term meaning “quality control in industry.” Through continuous improvement supported by Japan, they succeeded in enhancing their industrial quality and productivity. However, currently, there are few Japanese companies developing their businesses in Ethiopia, so the nation is appealing to Japan for more active investments. Exporting their products, like coffee, and increasing tourism, by promoting their world heritages are other ways to support the nation, the Ambassador said.   

In the question-and-answer session, a number of students and teachers were eager to ask questions many of which were related to “environmental issues” such as garbage-disposal problems and clean energy. Abundant natural resources like water, wind, and geothermal power have provided great potential for their development of clean energy with overall lower costs than by introducing other forms of energy. Low levels of consumerism have helped to deter the increase of waste materials and garbage.

In feedback about the lecture, many students stated the lecture dramatically changed their image of the country, for example, students learned that Ethiopia is one of the leading countries for the production of clean energy. The students could feel a stronger connection to Ethiopia than before.  This presentation inspired students to take a deeper interest in Ethiopia and the lecture was greatly appreciated.


Embassy of Ethiopia