GINDA DAM CORNERSTONE
Until such time when Ethiopia becomes fully developed and is self-sufficient all of us have to labour hard and contribute our share to this end in accordance with the abilities, with which the Almighty God has endowed us in His bounty.
If we labour diligently and fully develop our country the nation will not only be vouchsafed a prosperous life, but it can also be a source of help to others. The wealth and natural resources of the nation are such that loans contracted for their exploitation will undoubtedly prove to be very rewarding. Since agriculture and animal husbandry are the main wealth of the nation and the mainstay of Our people, it is with high hope and great expectation that We are present here in Ginda to lay the foundation stone of this dam which envisages the control and regulation of the flood waters that come from the highlands so as to enable its national utilization for irrigational purposes.
There is no doubt that with the construction of this dam and the introduction and employment of modern agricultural methods and techniques, the people of this area will derive added benefits which will accordingly contribute to the raising of their standard of living and general well-being. When the mineral resources of Our country are exploited in addition to our agricultural resources Ethiopia can have everything in abundance, provided we collaborate and co-operate in the realization of our national aims. Otherwise we have no reason to be bitter against the Almighty if we run short of our needs because of our failure.
His Highness Ras Asrate Kassa in his speech has just enumerated some of the salient features of the measures taken for the development and growth of this province and the results achieved from the implementation of such measures. Although what we have accomplished so far is indicative of the fact that we have not failed in our endeavours to do Our utmost for the good of Our people, yet as We have already said in the past, We feel that the greater task still lies ahead.
The equitable and balanced growth of the provinces of Our Empire, in accordance with Our resources, both in the field of education and health as well as in other areas of development which could further promote the standard of living of Our people continue to engage Our attention and energy. Such development enables Our people to acquire the same standards achieved by the already developed countries.
We have directed Our efforts to this noble objective so that Our beloved people would not be denied the fruits of modern living. It is with pleasure that We view the progress achieved by all the projects which were launched in this and other provinces of Our Empire in order to develop and strengthen Our economy. Our pleasure is mainly derived from the fact that these productive projects generate incomes which would enable Our people to achieve and maintain the standard to which they aspire as well as to exercise fully their rights which We have given to them in accordance with Our constitution.
When We view in general the heartening progress made in the field of education in Ethiopia We should not overlook the fact that it is also necessary that the facilities in this regard should be sufficient. It can be said that there are many schools in the province of Eritrea. However. We feel that they are not enough and so it is Our duty to augment their number in the future before the matter becomes urgent.
In the past the development of Our country and the progress for Our people were entirely dependent upon the financial resources drawn from Our Government Treasury. Now, however, it is encouraging to know that the private sector is actively participating in this field through the establishment of lasting and mutually beneficial projects. Such undertaking have helped in relieving the pressure on Our Government which otherwise should have borne the incidence.
The initiative and eagerness on the part of the public to participate and contribute in full measure its share will no doubt help in accelerating the tempo of our economic and social development activities. To understand and accept the very principle implemented in its full significance is a matter from which pleasure can be derived.
To do one’s job is one thing and to be indifferent in general and be critical of the work of others is another matter. The former requires competence, determination and wisdom, while the latter lacks these qualities and virtues. We, therefore, urge Our countrymen to rededicate themselves to the great task that still awaits each one of them in the realization of Our ambitious programme of nation-building. In this regard it is gratifying to note the diligence and hard work of both men and women in this province, a fact, which has given Us much satisfaction.
We should bear in mind that it is a natural obligation for mankind to live by the sweat of his brow. It is, therefore, incumbent upon all Ethiopians to use their energies and natural gifts and inclinations constructively for the achievement of Our national goals so that there will be a bright and promising tomorrow for their children and their children's children.
After Eritrea suffered under a forced foreign rule it was administered by Great Britain and thereafter reunited with Ethiopia, the mother country. Since the will of the Lord prevails, Our people of Eritrea through His wise guidance have with diligence and dedicated service to their country attained their present stage of development after the period of the re-integration of this province with Ethiopia.
In seeing this realized together with what the rest of Our country is doing in unison, gives Us pleasure. We draw satisfaction from Our past accomplishments and have high hopes in Our present undertakings which are entirely dependent upon the generosity of the Almighty God.
It is Our responsibility to look after the interests and welfare of our people which is the will of Our Creator. However, the responsibility in this regard is a collective one and should not be shunned.
Since this project, upon completion, will provide new employment opportunities for Our people and in view of the economic and social benefits that it envisages to offer, We, for Our part, shall closely follow with keen interest its progress and future development. Our thanks go to Mr. De Nadai for his efforts and services which he has rendered in connection with the works of this dam and the establishment of the share company that intends to carry out the present undertaking. In view of his contributions in the field of agriculture in Ethiopia, a fact that has been confirmed by the prize that he was awarded by the Haile Selassie I Prize Trust, We are confident that with his vast experience in this field, he will do his utmost for the development and success of this project.
Before concluding Our remarks We take this opportunity to express Our deep satisfaction for the services which His Highness Ras Kassa and his assistants have rendered by contributing their share to ensure the economic progress and healthy development of this province. We are hopeful that the present achievements will give added strength to their future work and endeavour.
Jan. 18, 1967.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 586 –