DEVELOPMENT REFORMS ERITREA
On our current visit to Eritrea, We felt extremely happy to note and realize that the welcome accorded Us by the people is sincere, deep and genuine. We have already spoken clearly about the administration of Eritrea, of the past and future. That Eritrea, before the federal union with Ethiopia, stayed separated for 60 years by the design of imperialists and colonialists and not by the will of God, has been manifested by the ultimate unity achieved. The struggle undertaken by the people to effect the reunification of Eritrea with Ethiopia is also very clear.
It is not necessary to enumerate countries where the people and the entire country having lost unity, spiritual or otherwise, have become playgrounds and laughing stocks of outsiders. The historical events of certain countries bear witness to this fact. In our own times, there are those expansionists who by shedding blood, desire to achieve their ambition and by dismembering themselves they are seen as tools for alien interests. Our people from Ethiopia shed blood, to save them from disintegration. Those personalities who believe in freeing a country by secession are selfish and prey to outsiders. We will not accept their motives.
The Eritrean people and their representatives work not only for Eritrea but for the entire Ethiopia too. They have worked for the welfare of the country even before the hardship. What brings people together is not only history, culture and geography but also the various voluntary social associations as well as economic interests and sharing infirmities or benefits in common; that is very clear.
Anyone, therefore, by investing his capital and wealth enjoys the benefits for himself and this situation provides general well-being by strengthening the unity of a people and by raising its living standard too.
In order to amass private wealth and benefit from it in peace and security, it is necessary to comply with the fundamental precepts of the society. So being, even the accumulation of private property emanates from a harmonious social life and entails certain obligations. One of these typical obligations would be to put one’s private capital into use. Since wealth is acquired by hard labour it is necessary to manifest an effort by using the invested capital.
The natural resources such as mines and others found in Eritrea and the other parts of Ethiopia remain the property of the Government and would be utilized in such effective ways facilitating the speedy progress and development of the Empire. It is also the duty of the people to render their service to the Government and the Government in turn is bound to serve the people.
Though it is difficult to effect the overall development of a nation in a short time, besides the projects which have already been accomplished, We have laid down for the development of this part of Our country the projects outlined in the Second Five-Year Plan.
The projected development plan includes:
1. The Zula Dam and the oil-finding survey on the Red Sea Coast already costing Eth. $2,000,000. The fact
2. that We have spent so much while the federation was still in existence is proof of Our belief in the oneness of Eritrea and Ethiopia. We are negotiating with private firms to discover oil and We are confident to effect an agreement with the firms concerned when the oil is discovered.
3. The survey for the discovery of copper and iron ore would be completed in the near future.
4. A new organization would be established to encourage the development of cotton plantations in the Province of Tessenei and the other lowlands and at the same time to advise and grant loans to farmers.
5. Studies for the establishment of a cement factory have been completed and the factory would be in operation soon.
6. We have allotted Eth. $1,000,000 for transport, forestry, irrigation systems and for administrative purposes.
7. An additional Eth. $2,000,000 has been added to the Eth. $500,000 previously allocated to construct the road from Areza to Bosheka.
8. We have further approved to restudy the tax levied on fuels consumed by agricultural machineries.
9. To help the people inhabiting the lowlands We have, as We expressed earlier, made arrangements for the Areza-Bosheka road.
The outlined are projects undertaken by the Government. We have also formulated plans to help private enterprises help themselves and the people. The Development Bank would be founded to realize Our concern on this line.
We have also made arrangements for Our people to benefit by purchasing shares from the private companies. Our endeavour to help the people also pre-supposes that the people should help Us. The wealth of Eritrea is the wealth
of Ethiopia and the wealth of Ethiopia is the wealth of Eritrea.
The realization of such a plan to effect the overall development of the national interest requires the active participation of the people and We have as such given instructions to members of the Eritrean Assembly to labour for the cause. This also calls for the co-ordination of the efforts exerted here as well as in the capital. The Police Force has so far rendered service and it would be given help to continue its service.
It is Our fervent hope that Almighty God will guide and bring Our efforts to fruition.
Jan. 18, 1963.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 426 –